Wellingborough and Kettering already had electric lighting but Mr. Ballard thought that Wellingborough’s street lighting was very poor, and that Rushden had a much better light from incandescent gas, which played into the representatives’ hands because they were able to point out that Wellingborough street lighting was managed by the council, not by their Company. The lighting provided in private houses was good, thus proving that consumers were better served by a private company than by the council.
The council were still very much in favour of doing the work themselves, and after much discussion, in January 1906 they refused to give their consent to the Order applied for by the County of Northampton Electric Power and Traction Company.
In July 1911 the council received a letter informing them that Messrs. Thornton and Brook Sampson, of Northampton, and Mr. John Clark of Rushden were to apply for a provisional order under the Electric Lighting Act authorising them to supply electricity for whole or part of the Urban District of Rushden, and in December of that year they were asked to consent to the application.
By January 1912 the council had almost agreed to give their consent but the promotors refused to reduce the period of possible purchase from 42 to 30 years. After much debate it was decided that, as the council were not in a position to undertake the work themselves, they should consent to the proposal. It was generally agreed that the people of the town wanted electricity and businesses wanting to come to the town always asked if electricity was available, so if they opposed it they would only be “standing in their own light.” In May 1912 the Clerk was able to report that the Board of Trade had granted the provisional Order on the terms to which the Urban Council had agreed.
One of the people responsible for bringing electricity to Rushden was Mr. John Clark, who lived at “Heatherbreea House,” in Wellingborough Road, Rushden. In 1913 he was elected on to the Rushden Urban District Council and was also one of the directors of the Rushden and District Electric Supply Co., Lt.
The cable laying didn’t go without incident. In July 1913 P.C. Reed discovered a man lying unconscious in the road, at the junction of Hayway and Higham Road, after falling off his cycle. Fortunately, Dr. Greenfield happened to be passing and rendered assistance. When the man regained consciousness he said he had been confused by all the lights placed round the excavations made by the Electric Lighting Company. The poor man was taken home on the bus where it was found that he had injuries to his right eye and his left thumb was put out of joint.
It would seem that it was not until about 1933 that houses were being built with “all the necessary services for modern homes.” Presumably that meant water, gas and electricity.
By 1933 there were still 236 street lamps lit by gas and only 72 by electricity.